I always assumed Steve Jobs home would be a tech-fest, his children would have every latest gadget and the walls would probably be wallpapered in i-pads.
So I was completely shocked to discover this was not the case. In fact the opposite was true.
When Steve Jobs was asked in 2010, that his children must love the i-pad he replied “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” Jonathan Ive, who designed the i-Pad, sets strict limits or his 10-year-old twin boys.
Here’s a list of some other high tech parents and what their views are on screen-time.
Pierre Laurent, a former Microsoft and Intel marketing manager, is currently working on a Silicon Valley startup. Has two daughters, aged nine and 15, and a 17-year-old son.
“I love computers. They can do wonderful things, if you use them properly. But you can overuse technology, and become a slave to it."
"We allowed screen time for our son until he was two. Then I read a book called "The Growth of the Mind" by Stanley Greenspan, which explains how we learn when we are small through our interaction with the world, and because of emotions."
"We did some research, and started connecting with Waldorf schools – which all our children attend. We saw that Waldorf teenagers had a different way of approaching adults and were very interested in the world. We decided that there’s no harm in not exposing children to screens until they’re big enough. It can only be beneficial. Young children like stories, to play with things, sing, make things, build and be in nature. So that’s what we did. They haven’t complained."
"There isn't an intent to harm children, but there’s an intent to keep them engaged. You could offer an hour’s screen time a day, but media products are designed to keep people’s attention. It’s not that there’s an intent to harm children, but there’s an intent to keep them engaged. In the late 90s, when I was working at Intel and my first child was born, we had what was called the “war of the eyeballs”. People don’t want you to wander and start playing with another product, so it has a hooking effect. It looks like it’s soothing your child and keeping them busy so you can do something else, but that effect is not very good for small children."
"It stops them discovering the world with their senses. And there’s a risk to attention. It’s not scientifically proven yet, but there’s an idea that attention is like a muscle that we build. It’s about being able to tune out all the distraction and focus on one thing. When you engage with these devices, you don’t build that capacity. It’s computer-aided attention; you’re not learning to do it."
"Our children start interacting with computers and smartphones at around 12. When they’re in the house, they put the phones to charge on the table in the hallway and don’t use them much. My son has a Facebook account and uses email, and he does some texting. He’s connected and engaged, but he’s not a slave to technology. He started getting interested in video games when he was 14, because that’s how he keeps in touch with his cousin in Europe – through a multiplayer game about the Napoleonic wars."
"We’ve also had a no-TV rule, and they watched movies maybe once during the weekend, and we ease it out as they grow up. My son is pretty much free to watch what he wants now, but he’s good at self-regulating, partly because he has built other interests."
Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now chief executive of 3D Robotics, a drone maker, has instituted time limits and parental controls on every device in his home. He has 5 children aged 6-17. He says “ We have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”
Alex Constantinople, the chief executive of the Out-Cast Agency, a tech-focused communications and marketing firm, said her youngest son, who is 5, is never allowed to use gadgets during the week, and her older children, 10 to 13, are allowed only 30 minutes a day on school days.
Evan Williams a founder of Blogger, Twitter and Medium, and his wife, Sara Williams, said that in instead of iPads, their two young boys have hundreds of real books that they can pick up and read anytime.
Lesley Gold, founder and chief executive of the Sutherland Gold Group, a tech media relations and analytics company. “We have a strict no screen time during the week rule for our kids,”…. “But you have to make allowances as they get older and need a computer for school.”
Although some non-tech parents give smartphones to children as young as 8, many who work in tech wait until their child is 14. While these teenagers can make calls and text, they are not given a data plan until 16. But there is one rule that is universal among the tech.